2015 AGM

Minutes of the Political Geography Research Group (PolGRG) AGM held at the University of Birmingham, Thursday 25th June 2015

Committee members present: Adam Ramadan (AR); Andrew Burridge (AB); Marco Antonisch (MA); Sara Fregonese (SF); Joe Thorogood

Others present: Ning An; Serkan Birgel; Karenjit Clare; Julian Clark; Philip Conway; Jen Dickinson; Jason Dittmer (JD); Antonio Ferraz de Oliveira; Nick Gill; Anthony Ince; Alan Ingram; Kelly Kay; Michael Laiho; Fiona McConnell; Sam Page; Jo Sharp; James Sidaway; Jonathan Rokem; Ian Slesinger; Krithika Srinivasan; Sam Strong; Rosanna White;

Apologies for absence: Kerry Burton, Matt Benwell, Noam Leshem


  1. Minutes of 2014 AGM were presented and approved by the meeting
  1. Matters arising from 2014 AGM
  • Proposal for workshop to be held in 2015 > it is currently being held.
  • Proposed awards: The 2013 AGM meeting asked the committee to explore possible awards that the group could bestow. The committee had discussed a number of variants, including an Early Career Award, Lifetime Achievement Award, and Book Prize. The 2014 AGM meeting favoured an early career bursary and an annual book prize, and these were adopted by that meeting.
    • Early Career Conference Bursary: While this was discussed by the committee, no further actions have been taken, since much of the budget for this year has been reserved for this workshop and the one-off funding of bursaries at Alison Williams’s Newcastle workshop in January 2015.
      • Action Point: SF to enter into discussions with MA regarding potential budgeting; SF to liaise with other research groups regarding others’ existing arrangements for early career bursaries. Committee to discuss and action this in time for 2016 RGS-IBG annual conference.
    • Annual Book Prize: At 2014 AGM, KB agreed to enter into discussions with Political Geography journal regarding book prize. KB reported by email that nothing further has been done on this. This item was discussed in detail. AR asked if this is still something we want to pursue. Jo Sharp and James Sidaway felt that Political Geography journal would likely wish to pursue it, with the potential for published pieces in the journal; Jo Sharp to raise this with the journal board and feed back to us in due course. It was noted that the exposure of the award is positive for PolGRG, for the author’s CV, for the publisher, and for marketing of the book. It was further noted that the Political Geography Specialty Group of the AAG offers a similar award, but this is not linked to the journal and so this award would be unique. The meeting was strongly in favour of pursuing this.
      • Action Point: Jonathan Rokem to liaise with Jo Sharp, on behalf of Political Geography Journal; AR and MA to be copied into communications, and MA willing to assist.
  1. Treasurer’s Report (MA)
  • Balance at the last AGM was £1735.36
  • Income:
    • Subvention from the RGS-IBG of £350
    • Interest of £1.73
  • Expenditure:
    • £75 for undergraduate dissertation prize
    • £200 to Newcastle University for Art and Political Geography workshop run by Alison Williams; this contribution funded 4 travel bursaries for participants.
    • Political Geography workshop 2015 (June 24-25 Birmingham) – £786.56 catering; £159.35 dinner; £50 travel bursary approved but not claimed.
  • Current balance: £816.18
  1. Conference Coordinator’s report (SF)
  • SF reported on session sponsorship for 2015 RGS-IBG Annual Conference
    • 13 applications for sponsorship received; PolGRG will sponsor 10 sessions (covering 11 conference session slots)
    • 5 sessions co-sponsored with other research groups, an increase in collaboration between PolGRG and other groups over previous years.
    • PolGRG has also sponsored one guest pass for attendance at the conference.
  1. Feedback on the 2015 mid-term workshop (AR)
  • AR outlined the planning process of the workshop, and its aims; noted this was PolGRG’s first workshop since 2012; delighted with high quality of sessions, presentations and discussions.
  • Since no workshop has been run for three years, we were able to fund this workshop without asking for registration fees.
  • 41 applications to attend, including 19 postgraduate students and 7 early career academics. All applications approved.
  • MA asked about plans for future workshops and events.
    • AR proposed that workshops should be run every 2 years, rather than every 12 months as previously suggested; the meeting agreed this was appropriate. The next workshop should therefore be agreed at the 2016 AGM, to run in the 2016-17 academic year.
  1. Undergraduate Dissertation Prize (AR)
  • 2014 prize: awarded to Sam Nariani, University of Nottingham, “Women’s Activism in Barnsley’s Communities during the 1984-5 Miners’ Strike”
  • 2015 prize: AR still receiving applications > no winner to announce at this AGM
  • 2016 competition: Alan Ingram and Kelly Kay volunteered to act as judges.
  • Jo Sharp asked whether differential levels of supervision are taken into account when judging.
    • AR noted that departmental guidelines on dissertations are requested with all submissions, and these are looked at. Further noted that it is difficult to account for this entirely, but efforts are made.
  1. Elections to the Committee
  • Posts vacant: Secretary, Vice Chair, Ordinary Member, Postgraduate Representative. Noam Leshem, elected as Ordinary Member at the 2014 AGM, resigned from his post in May.
    • Secretary (3 years): Jonathan Rokem was elected; Nick Gill nominated, Jason Dittmer seconded.
    • Vice Chair (3 years): Krithika Srinivasan elected; AB nominated, MA seconded.
    • Ordinary Member (3 years): Anthony Ince elected; AB nominated, Jo Sharp seconded.
    • Postgraduate Representative (1 year): Four candidates wished to stand for election, so it was decided that we should elect two candidates. Rosanna White elected; AR nominated, JD seconded; Sam Strong elected; AR nominated, AP seconded
  1. Any other business
  • AR thanked outgoing committee members KB, AB and JT for their efforts.
  • AR noted sincere thanks to Political Geography journal for agreeing to fund three £100 postgraduate bursaries for attendance at the workshop. These were awarded to Michael Laiho, Joe Thorogood and Rosanna White.